(Photo by John Adams/Icon Sportswire)
Look who’s back. Back again. Acuna’s back. Tell a friend! Well, Marshall Mathers, there’s no need to tell Braves fans and fantasy owners that he’s back. Trust me, they already know. Future GOAT Ronald Acuña was inserted into the 6 spot in the Braves’ lineup two days ago, and he rewarded the patience of owners everywhere with a big night last night where he went 3-5, 3 R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI. He played a large part in Atlanta’s 11-run onslaught last night, and I have a feeling this will not be the last time that happens. Call it a hunch! I’m not rumored to be an expert for nothing, folks! It’s why they pay me the big pennies.
So, what can we expect moving forward now that our favorite boy Ronnie is back? Well, let me remind you since it’s been awhile and all. This young man has a 13% barrel percentage and 52% hard-hit rate through his first 139 plate appearances, and in case you forget, he’s the top prospect in all the land. I have a feeling you didn’t forget. His Fangraphs page has projections somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 R/10 HR/35 RBI/12 SB with something around a .265 average rest of season. I would buy into that stat line moving forward, but you wouldn’t be able to color me surprised if he exceeds the 10 HR. No surprise at all. Welcome back, Ronald!
Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from Saturday:
Rafael Devers (3B, Boston Red Sox) – 5-5, 3 R, HR, 2B, 4 RBI. His 1st inning slam off of Sonny “HR” Gray was his 14th dong of the year, but he’s still got an underwhelming slash of .251/.294/.447 so far. The growing pains have been evident for the youngster, but I’m still very high on him moving forward. He’s slashing .333/.344/.617 with 4 bombs, 14 RBI, and 3 swipes over the last two weeks.
Ryon Healy (1B/3B/DH, Seattle Mariners) – 4-4, R, HR, 3 RBI. This makes it 16 jacked dongs on the year for Healy, and he’s 9 away from tying his career high of 25 a year ago. His underlying metrics all line up with last year, so the power feels really legit. Unfortunately, he’s a burden in OBP leagues as he’s under the Mendoza line of OBP (.300), and his 4% walk rate doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence moving forward. The ceiling here feels like Kyle Seager, which is fine, but nothing to get your jimmies rustled over.
Jason Heyward (OF, Chicago Cubs) – 4-6, 2 R, 2 RBI. He’s been particularly hot over the last 15 games with a slash of .333/.385/.517, but what catches my eye the most is that the Cubs hit him out of the 2 hole for most of June. It’s no coincidence that it was his most productive month with a line of 19 R/3 HR/16 RBI/.327. I wouldn’t sell the farm to get him on your roster, but I would be enjoying the hot streak while it lasts.
Ozzie Albies (2B, Atlanta Braves) – 3-5, 2 R, 2B, 2 RBI. Well, he doesn’t seem to have any lingering effects from his minor injury earlier in the week! He’s slashing a remarkable .353/.380/.559 over the last two weeks, and this brings his stat line up to 64 R/17 HR/48 RBI/7 SB on the season. I’m not totally buying the power outbreak as he has very little changes to his exit velocity and launch angle, and he has a mere 33% hard-hit rate on the year. None of that screams sustainability, but even with a power regression in the 2nd half, he’s still going to be one of the better middle infielders in fantasy.
Albert Almora Jr. (OF, Chicago Cubs) – 3-3, R, 2 RBI. I wonder what Albert Almora Sr. is up to these days? Anyway, Almora Jr. has actually produced pretty well in his 261 plate appearances this year slashing .332/.369/.461, and I continue to tout him as an excellent NL-only play. Heck, I’d even be rostering him in deeper mixed leagues too. He won’t rack up the counting stats, but he hits for average and gets on base, so take that for what its worth.
Matt Davidson (3B/DH, Chicago White Sox) – 3-4, 2 R, HR, 2B, RBI. He’s now socked 14 HR on the year, but OW MY EYES that 36.5% strikeout rate and .228 average sure is heinous. You know what you’re signing up for with Davidson: a power guy with real K issues and a bad average. It is what it is. Also, he plays for the White Sox, which is why in his 14 dongs he’s only driven in 33. Last year, he hit 26 bombs with just 68 RBI. Seeing a trend?
Matt Duffy (3B, Tampa Bay Rays) – 3-4, 2 R. The Rays have the Astros number apparently stealing a few away from the defending champs this weekend. Duffy is hot as of late slashing a cool .351/.422/.509 over the last two weeks, but the downside is the modest production with just 8 R/2 HR/6 RBI/3 SB in that same time frame. Being on the Rays means I don’t see that changing in the near future. Still, he can definitely help your average and OBP.
Scooter Gennett (2B, Cincinnati Reds) – 3-4, 3 R, 2B, RBI, BB. Meep Meep! Watch out! It’s Scooter gunning for his first ever All-Star appearance! This brings his line up to 48 R/13 HR/54 RBI/.332 as his year and a half long hot streak continues. I refuse to acknowledge this as the real Scooter and will continue to do so despite evidence to the contrary. He’s been good, but he’s no Michael “Ohtani” Lorenzen who blasted his 3rd dong of the week yesterday. Lol.
Mitch Haniger (OF, Seattle Mariners) – 3-4, R, 2B, RBI. He’s already set a career high with 17 HR, and he is very much on track to make his first All-Star Game appearance in a few weeks. He’s slashing a terrific .275/.358/.502, and the metrics are all pretty close to what he put up last year. This feels very sustainable, and as long as he can stay healthy, this should be a career year for Haniger.
J. D. Martinez (OF, Boston Red Sox) – 3-4, R, 3 RBI. There’s nothing I can write here that will provide you fantasy insight on JD Martinez. He is very good, and you know this. I’ll just post his insane stats, so we can all marvel at his fantasy goodness. That’s now 58 R/25 HR/67 RBI to go with his slash of .327/.392/.641. Next.
Andrew McCutchen (OF, San Francisco Giants)- 3-5, 2 R, HR, RBI. This was his 9th dong of the year, and I do believe that his streak of 7 years in a row with at least 20 HR will come to a close this year. Despite the power reduction, he’s coming off his most productive month of the season where he posted a line of 19 R/6 HR/17 RBI/.303. Don’t overlook the grinder types like McCutchen who can provide a very nice floor moving forward.
Ehire Adrianza (2B/SS, Minnesota Twins) – 2-5, R, 2 RBI. He’s really been heating up over the last 7 games slashing .346/.370/.500. You should 100% be taking a look at him in AL-only leagues as he has the Twins’ shortstop job on lockdown, and he’s been hitting everything. He just finished a modestly productive June where he posted a line of 11 R/3 HR/12 RBI/.300. Like I said, AL-only is your jam.
Harrison Bader (OF, St. Louis Cardinals) – 2-3, R, 2B, RBI, BB. He’s really been turning it on over the last week slashing .381/.500/.476. However, it’s not coming with a whole lot of counting stats. In fact, over his last 30 games, he has just 2 HR, 6 RBI, and 3 stolen bases. Playing time will continue to be an issue as he has a struggling, but often studly, Tommy Pham and veteran albatross Dexter Fowler to compete with.
Javier Baez (2B/SS, Chicago Cubs) – 2-6, 2 R, 2B, 2 RBI. The breakout season continues, and he’s even gotten his OBP up to a respectable .321 now! He was below the OBP Mendoza Line (.300) until this month, so that’s encouraging to see. He had a very solid June swiping 6 bags and hitting .318 despite hitting just 3 HR. I’m very high on him moving forward.
Mookie Betts (OF, Boston Red Sox) – 2-4, 2 R, 2B, 2 BB. He and teammate JD Martinez should have a very fun 2nd half as they race for the title of 2nd best hitter in fantasy baseball. It’s a thing. Betts is now slashing an absurd .341/.431/.679 on the season, and he is well on track to top his 2016 mark of 31 HR/26 SB. His 1.03 BB/K rate and 1.110 OPS are both elite right now as is the 20% HR/FB rate. Sell high! Kidding.
Nick Castellanos (3B, Detroit Tigers) – 2-4, R, HR, 2 RBI. This was his 12th dong of the year, and he’s on pace for his 2nd straight 20 HR season. I’m most surprised by his stellar .309/356/.517 triple slash, which is a big improvement across the board. He’s coming off a red-hot finish to June as he slashed .304/.381/.696 over the last two week with 10 R/6 HR/15 RBI. He should regress in the 2nd half, especially in average, but he should have a soft landing like a stuffed teddy bear falling onto a pillowy cloud.
Robinson Chirinos (C, Texas Rangers) – 2-4, R, 2B, 3 RBI. I feel obligated to mention any and all catchers who post a fantasy relevant line. Please note that I will be breaking my own rule and not talk about Sandy Leon’s big night. You are not rostering Sandy Leon unless you play in AL East-only leagues. Is that a thing? Anyways, Chirinos is red hot over the last 7 games with 3 HR, 12 RBI and a .375 average. He’s still hitting a putrid .213 on the year, but he’s merely a streamer anyways.
Adam Duvall (OF, Cincinnati Reds) – 2-4, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB. He’s hot garbage with that slash of .206/.286/.399, and he’s not even giving you the power to make him somewhat rosterable. In fact, he has just 3 HR over the last 30 games. He’s accomplishing quite a feat as he is now close to both the batting average and OBP Mendoza lines.
Dustin Fowler (OF, Oakland Athletics) – 2-4, 2 R, HR, RBI. Because of his violent knee injury last season, it’s easy to forget about his prospect pedigree when he was with the Yankees, but like…don’t forget. He’s played just 43 games at the Major League level this season, and this was his 5th dong. He profiles with a pretty decent power-speed combo, and he could provide some sneaky value in the second half especially in AL-only leagues. Note that he’s also been hitting leadoff for the A’s since the beginning of June.
Ian Happ (OF, Chicago Cubs) – 2-3, 2 R, 2B, RBI. His 37.8% strikeout rate would make Chris Davis blush at the moment, and aw heck…I’m blushing too! I don’t trust his playing time moving forward as Albert Almora Jr. continues to outproduce him, and once Kris Bryant comes back, it could be Happ moving to the bench. He’s produced just 1 HR and 3 RBI over his last 15 games, but he has slashed a very good .313/.421/.438 over that same time frame.
Nick Markakis (OF, Atlanta Braves) – 2-3, 2 R, HR, 2B, 5 RBI. This brings his line to 49 R/9 HR/56 RBI/.326 on the year, and let’s get Nick to his All-Starl Star Game! No, not Pollack, even though I’m sure he would enjoy that. Anyways, Markakis is among the NL leaders in batting average, and that steller BB/K rate around 1.00 shows some great plate discipline to boot. #GetNickToDC!
Mike Moustakas (3B, Kansas City Royals) – 2-4, R, HR, 3 RBI, BB. That makes it 16 bombs on the season, but he has definitely falled off since his blazing hot April. He hit just 4 HR with a .217 average in the month of June, but I am confident he will get close to 30 bombs before the season’s end. The only drag will be playing for the Royals where counting stats may be hard to come by.
Wil Myers (1B/OF, San Diego Padres) – 2-4, R, HR, 2B, 3 RBI. What an amazing turnaround for Myers. Two years ago, he was stuck in the upside down place as Winona Ryder was worried SICK. This past fall, he got out of the upside down place, but he had a massive case of PTSD and was still infected. However, with the help of former Notre Dame football star Rudy himself, he was able to get back on his feet and come back to the Padres. Just amazing.
Jurickson Profar (SS/3B, Texas Rangers) – 2-4, 2 R, 2B, 2 RBI, BB. It’s great to see Profar finally putting it all together after spending the last 45 seasons on the DL. His line of 42 R/8 HR/44 RBI/6 SB certainly has its place on many rosters, and even with the .241 average, I’m confident using him as a middle infielder in 12-teamers or larger.
Wilson Ramos (C, Tampa Bay Rays) – 2-3, 2B, 4 RBI, BB. Catchers gonna catch! Wait that doesn’t work. We will workshop a phrase that means “here’s a catcher who provided any kind of production at all so it’s noteworthy.” Stay tuned. Anyways, Ramos is the leading vote getter for AL catchers for the All Star Game, and for good reason. His triple slash is now up to .291/.338/.461, and he’s crushed it over the last week with 3 HR, 11 RBI and a .320 average.